The first Recovery Café opened its doors in 2004 in Seattle after founder Killian Noe reached out to local service agencies and received consistent feedback that the greatest need in the community was for recovery support. Recovery Café was launched to be a community that stands in the gap between treatment visits, between leaving the treatment and/or criminal justice system and returning to everyday life. Successful recovery outcomes depend on the ability of the individual to stay in recovery, therefore, long gaps between recovery supports represents a risk for relapse. Recovery Café’s intention is to be a part of the recovery support necessary to minimize the risk of relapse.
The genesis of Recovery Café Longmont is in the commitment by the leadership of CENTRALongmont Presbyterian Church to be as a big blessing to the Longmont community as possible. The church—which partnered in founding St. Vrain Manor, income-based apartments for seniors, and the OUR Center, which has helped meet basic life needs of some of the area’s most vulnerable residents—has a long history of identifying unmet needs in the community and partnering with others to put solutions in place. In 2018, church leadership became aware of the need for a place where individuals in recovery for various addictions could find support, acceptance, and radical hospitality, which led them to the Recovery Café Network, developed from the remarkable success of Recovery Café, founded by Killian Noe in Seattle, Washington. The Network partners with individuals who feel called to establish a Recovery Café in their own communities. Thus, Recovery Café Longmont was born in 2019.
Although CENTRALongmont Presbyterian Church was the impetus to establishing a Recovery Café in Longmont, and the Café will be utilizing the basement space of the Church for the first 2-3 years, the Café is a separate entity from the Church. The Café is not a faith-based organization - all beliefs and faith traditions are welcome.
What is the Recovery Café model?
The Recovery Café model begins with the understanding that every human being is precious and worthy of love regardless of past trauma, mental and emotional anguish, addictive behaviors or mistakes made. The model is a membership-based model requiring commitments that are held through loving accountability. Everyone is a contributor in the model, which allows for mutually liberating relationships which cross socio-economic, racial, religious, gender and other barriers that exist in the larger culture. By practicing radical hospitality, the model supports everyone wherever they are on their journey and encourages multiple pathways to recovery. From this place of deep knowing and deep loving, the model raises up leaders from within its community to share their gifts and follow at the point of another’s gifts. This model provides support, resources, and a community of care along the entire continuum of a person’s need for recovery assistance.
What the Recovery Café model is not?
Recovery Café is not treatment, but we operate within an addiction recovery and mental health framework and welcome collaboration with treatment partners. Many members are already engaged with the treatment system, in which case we support to remain anchored in recovery between meetings with health professionals, case managers, and/or corrections officers.
Recovery Café is not a drop-in center. Every person in the space is either a guest for the day or an active Member of the Recovery Café community.
One in eight Coloradans have a mental health condition and nearly half struggle with substance abuse. Longmont has not been immune to the opioid crisis being experienced nationally. According to Boulder County Public Health, the number of people in Boulder County who were treated for heroin misuse increased by 128 percent between 2010 and 2016, resulting in more than 191 deaths and making opioid-related deaths more common than deaths from car accidents.
According to the National Institutes of Health, individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder need a foundation of at least two years of sobriety to ensure long-term recovery. Recovery Café Longmont provides this crucial support to women and men who want to rebuild their lives and break the cycle of homelessness, addiction, and other mental health challenges.
What is Recovery Café Longmont’s relationship with Recovery Café Network?
Recovery Café Longmont is a member of the Recovery Café Network, which is a cohort learning model that provides mentorship, materials, expertise and facilitated learning experiences for groups seeking to start recovery communities based on the Recovery Café model. Recovery Café Longmont will be an Emerging Member for two years. As an Emerging Member, Recovery Café Longmont receives training and support from the Network over the first two years to start programming, build recovery capital in our community, and prepare to become certified as a Full Member of the Network. Full Members are granted a Recovery Café Network license to open and run a Recovery Café in their community and receive continued support and use of the Recovery Café Network brand.
Core commitments for all Members of Recovery Café Network
- Creating a community space that is drug and alcohol free, embracing and healing
- Nurturing structures of loving accountability called Recovery Circles
- Empowering every Member to be a contributor
- Raising up Member leaders
- Ensuring responsible stewardship
We expect that the majority of the people we serve are traumatized by addiction and mental health. Often these two conditions are co-occurring and include homelessness. People wanting to become Members must fulfill the following three requirements:
- To have twenty-four hours, drug and alcohol-free
- To meet weekly with a small, loving accountability group called a Recovery Circle
- To contribute by helping to maintain the physical space and to create a culture of healing and unconditional love
They are named “Members” because most have never been a member of anything in their entire lives and the term “Member” connotes belonging.
A Recovery Circle is a small group of people who agree to share honestly, respect the sharing and privacy of others, and to be held accountable. Recovery Circles create a sacred space where people can be their authentic selves in their brokenness, healing, losses, needs, hopes, regrets and triumphs. The Circles are held once a week and last approximately one hour. During this time, each person is given time to check in about his or her week including big and small struggles, big and small victories, plans for the coming week, requests for feedback, support and/or requests for help. For many of our Members, their life circumstances or addictions have estranged them from their family and friends. They need a place to learn to trust again, practice healthy interactions, and to be known and loved.
School for Recovery
Classes are organized around 5 primary goals:
- To increase knowledge about healthy living and the recovery journey
- To support the development of life skills necessary for healthier living
- To increase peer support networks
- To support the development of a plan for growth
- To foster leadership development
Also, to develop basic vocational skills:
- Accountability to a schedule
- Conflict resolution
- Focusing on a single task
Examples of classes that may be offered:
- Addiction 101
- Relapse prevention
- Boundary management
- Resume writing
- Walking/running club
- Barista training
- Creative writing
Recovery Oriented System of Care vs. 12-Step models
Our mission and spirit at the Café is to support all pathways to recovery. We want to support and foster a community for individuals to feel safe to explore and uncover what path works best for them.
Recovery Café is a key part of the new approach called Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC). This is a more effective approach for addressing chemical dependency issues. An ROSC meets people where they are on the recovery continuum, engages them for a lifetime of managing their disease, focuses holistically on a person’s needs, and empowers them to build a life that realizes their full potential. This person-centered system of care supports a person as they establish a healthy life and recognizes that we all need a meaningful sense of membership and belonging in community.
12-Step models are a prescribed way to sobriety and recovery. A 12-step model like AA or NA provides a framework of steps in acknowledging the addiction, accepting the consequences of the addiction, ways to mend at least some of the damage done while using, and encourages the building of a network of support through a service-oriented 12th step. Someone wishing to seek help through a 12-step program can do so at no cost. And with cost of treatment being a primary barrier for most people, 12-step programs can offer a lifeline of much needed support.
Recovery Café has relationships and more formal partnerships with a wide network of complimentary service providers. Recovery Café helps members gain and maintain (through recovery support) housing, healthcare, mental health services, legal assistance and a base of support as Members navigate the complex social services system. In doing so, we are maximizing the impact or social service providers across the spectrum of need.